Job Search Tips for Ex-Offenders / Felons
El Paso, Texas – We’ve all made mistakes in our life. Its part of life and it is certainly part of growing up. I probably deserved every one of the spankings my parents gave me when I was a kid. (Well maybe not all of them, It really was my little brother who broke the window on the station wagon.) But let’s talk about serious mistakes. According to Census 2000, there are approximately 2 million people in American prisons. Each year, over 600,000 ex-offenders re-enter society. That means that around 10,000 felons are absorbed into the workforce of major cities every year. At any given time, more than 5,000 people are on parole or probation and more than 30 million people in the United States have been convicted of a crime. With these kinds of numbers, society cannot simply turn a deaf ear to the situation. If these folks cannot re-enter the job market, they are forced to work underground, in our nations shadow economy. Let’s start with reality. If you are one of the people that are dealing with this employment barrier you know all too well how difficult it can be to get back into the workforce. The unfortunate reality is that even though you have paid your dept to society, you may have to carry the weight of the ex-felon stigma with you for many years. Even more difficult to bear is the fact that study after study indicates that you will earn a good deal less than before the conviction. However there are effective strategies one can utilize to help penetrate the job market after serving prison time. They are honesty, strategic job searching, and effective interviewing. The first, and probably most important thing to remember, is that you should never lie about your background. Under no circumstances should you ever violate this rule when it comes to employment. Starting any relationship, especially one as important as an employment relationship, on a lie is never a good idea. It will come back to haunt you. Yes it is possible to get away with it in the short run every now and then, but it will eventually catch up with you. Employers will be naturally apprehensive about hiring someone with a felony background, so when you lie about the felony, you will be feeding into their fears and perpetuating the perception that felons can’t be trusted. The next step is the strategic job search. This is where it pays to invest in research the companies that are open to hiring someone with a criminal record. Connecting with your local workforce center is an ideal way of finding the employers in your community that are open to giving someone a second chance. The workforce centers have professionals who understand your situation, deal with ex-felons on a daily basis, and are trained to provide you with the latest information and employment referrals. The good ones have a network of employers who will give you an opportunity. A final note on the strategic job search is in order here. Understand that your background may prohibit you from ever getting certain types of employment again. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but its reality. The last strategy is knowing how to make the most of an employment opportunity with an effective interview. Be honest, but don’t give someone all the details. This is especially important if your felony dealt with violence or other sensitive events. This will do more harm than good and may frighten a potential employer. Resist the urge to re-try your case with the employer. Telling them how you were not guilty or were framed for the crime will not result in you getting hired. Express remorse for the event and how you have moved on with your life. This will show an employer that you’ve taken responsibility for your actions and will give them more of a reason to take a chance on hiring you. Explain that the circumstances are no longer the same, that you are not the same person you were when the crime was committed, and how you are now dedicated to being extra vigilant about staying on the right path. Applying these steps, along with patience and perseverance, will help you get back into the workforce; contribute to society, and lead to self-sufficiency.
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